ABSTRACT

This chapter explores the influence that collective memories and national sentiments have had on Spaniards' perceptions and symbolic representations of the European Union's Eastern Enlargement. It argues that a recurrent theme in Spanish political discourse on this process has been that just as Spain's entry into the European Community was a crucial vehicle in the consolidation of democracy and the achievement of economic prosperity after a long period of dictatorship, it should equally play this role for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. From this perspective, the Eastern Enlargement has been depicted in the context of Spanish collective memory as the continuing expansion of European integration, understood as a moral project that aims to spread peace, democracy and prosperity throughout the whole of the European continent. This is a project from which Spain, with it own historical experience of dictatorship and isolation from the EC, benefited greatly in the aftermath of Francoist authoritarianism; hence, Spanish politicalleaders have frequently proclaimed that it should now similarly spread out to the countries liberated from the boot of Communist totalitarianism.